Penguin Online photo Yafa

Anyone who’s seen Jennifer Lawrence or Charlize Theron on screen knows that both of the Oscar winners for Best Actress are the real thing. It’s not surprising, at least to me, that they have no patience for phony celebs or “pretend” foods. Theron won’t go near anything gluten-free: “It tastes like cardboard!” she exclaimed in a talk-show appearance. Lawrence told Vanity Fair that gluten-free diets are “the new, cool eating disorder.”

Real foods, to both women, do not perform bait-and-switch tricks like substituting tapioca for whole wheat flour in baked goods. Real foods contain whole grains that may or may not be fashionable at the moment, but still deliver proven value.  I’m reminded that our palate and digestive system subscribe to no dietary trends, and never have.  Our bodies dwell in a microbial universe where nutritive usefulness trumps the latest fad; muscles and ligaments along with the liver and every other internal organ thrive on minerals and vitamins, healthful bacteria, fiber and phytochemicals. They’re sublimely oblivious to pop culture’s demands for the newest, coolest, latest diet.

As the author of Grain of Truth—The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten I set out to discover for myself, as an investigative journalist, just how seriously I should take the campaign against gluten. Was this protein complex found in wheat, barley and rye, as William Davis claims in Wheat Belly, so injurious to our well-being that it has killed more people than all wars combined? Or were we yet again being subjected to unsubstantiated hyperbole—this time delivered by medical professionals, among others?

The gluten-free craze arrived in a thundercloud of hyperbole, like Moses delivering the Ten Commandments and warning if you fail to honor them, well, we’ll see you in hell. That’s the emotional foundation of screeds like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain. Like scripture, they are unconditional—they don’t deal with shades of gray, so we don’t have to, either. It’s all fire and brimstone. Eat wheat and grow fat, while you rot your brain. Other diet fads—Zone, South Beach, Atkins, generally call for more protein and fewer carbs, and more thought.  Gluten-free is a one-stop one-shop silver bullet.

Reliable clinical studies indicate that only .63 to 6 percent of us suffer from definable symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and 1 in 133 from celiac disease. The vast majority of men and women who think they’re reacting to gluten— about 30 percent of the general population—fall into neither category.

A recent study at the University of Florida set out to probe people’s misconceptions about gluten. It followed 97 participants who tasted two food choices, one labeled “gluten-free” and one labeled “gluten.” The majority decided the non-gluten food was healthier, even though neither food actually contained gluten. As many as 32 percent of the study subjects thought eating gluten-free would bring about weight loss. Not true. It’s the elimination of junk food, the researchers point out, that makes all the difference.

grain-of-truth-by-stephen-yafa 2I discovered too that long fermentation, as in sourdough, is nature’s way of reducing the toxicity of gluten molecules while increasing its nutritive value and edible enjoyment. A surprise to me, and proof again that the best part of authoring a book is to learn what you didn’t know when you began.

 

Read more about Grain of Truth—The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten by Stepehn Yafa!


staffpicks

 

Ally Bruschi is a publicity assistant at Avery who has a “To Read” list that is 73 books long and counting. She loves to read anything she can get a hold of – cookbooks, political tomes, funny memoirs, and shampoo bottles alike.  She lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

food-rules-by-michael-pollan-illustrated-by-maira-kalman

Food Rules by Michael Pollan

The only person who I would trust to tell me what to eat is Michael Pollan, because he’s not really telling you what to eat, but how to eat – consciously and simply, to put it briefly. This handy guidebook offers 64 (often pretty funny) guidelines to making your daily diet a little healthier drawn from advice from doctors, scientists  and nutritionists that Pollan has come into contact with over the years.  It’s simple, it’s small enough to fit anywhere, and it gets to the point.  Two of my favorites: “#19: If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t,” and “#39: Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.”

 

 

what-katie-ate-by-katie-q-davies

What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies

At Avery we publish many beautiful cookbooks, but this one has been my favorite from the start- it caught my eye during my first interview and I was delighted when I was allowed to take a copy home with me – I devoured the book cover to cover on my train ride home.  Katie Davies’ stunning photography and mouth-watering recipes captivate you from the second you open the book. And she photographs all of her own food for the book, too! It’s truly a work of art- but not too beautiful that you can resist propping it up next to your stove and cooking your way from start to finish.  You haven’t lived until you’ve tried her Honey-Baked Peaches – trust me.

 

9-12-narrow-by-patricia-morrisroe

9 ½ Narrow by Patricia Morrisroe 

I fell in love with this book by its third page, which is a rare occurrence for me.  Patricia  Morrisroe has this unique way of making her own, very personal memoir feel like an everywoman’s story of discovering her true self at every stage of life. Patricia’s hilarious, insightful anecdotes made me reflect on my own fashion mishaps, embarrassing moments, tifs with my mother, and instances of love lost and found. If you’re looking for a book to make you feel glowingly nostalgic about the trials and travails of growing up, you need to get your hands on a copy of this book – and a few more for each of your favorite women in your life.

 

 

women-in-clothes-by-sheila-hetiWomen in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

This is not a book about shopping or fashion or even really clothes in a literal sense. In fact, I’d say it’s more about the women than the clothes. It’s about how the things we wear and keep in our closet can transform us, make us feel  more confident, express our values, and protect us –physically and emotionally – from the sometimes harsh world around us. I’d never encountered a book quite like this before, and loved the way it pulled in conversations between women from all different demographics, levels of fame, and opinions on style. You don’t have to be a diehard fashionista to appreciate this book’s unique perspective and style, and perhaps it might even be better if you’re not one.

 

daring-greatly-by-brene-brown

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I’m far from the first person to adore this book – Dr. Brené Brown is a bonafide celebrity in the self-improvement world. Daring Greatly teaches its readers to embrace vulnerability and uncertainty for a more meaningful, engaged life. This book inspired me to become more of a go-getter – why let yourself get mired down in the fear of failure and let great opportunities pass you by, when you could be taking active steps to becoming a happier, more self-assured person? If you’re having a bad day where you feel like the world is against you, read a chapter of this book. Or a paragraph. Or the whole thing, twice.

 

 

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Andrew Yackira Headshot

Andrew Yackira is an Editor with Tarcher/Penguin, acquiring books on health, wellness, self-help, philosophy, and works containing loads of other fun and potentially world-changing ideas. When he isn’t reading for work, he still manages to read for pleasure, is an avid commuter cyclist, a gamer, an eater-of-foods-he-didn’t-prepare—as well as some that he did—and (presumably to his neighbor’s chagrin) has recently taken up playing the mandolin.

 

 

strongerfaster

Stronger, Faster, Smarter: A Guide to Your Most Powerful Body, by Ryan Ferguson

Ryan Ferguson, the author of this fitness guide, spent ten years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. The titular line comes from something his father told him—after first realizing that the nightmare of his imprisonment might be his new normal:  “Son, do whatever you can to get stronger, faster, and smarter.  This is now your number one priority.” Aside from the inspirational story behind the Ferguson’s physical transformation while behind bars—and, ultimately, his acquittal—this book contains a fitness program emphasizing a need of resolve and inner strength over the need of fancy exercise equipment. Most of the exercises highlighted in this book are simple and can be done in a 6’ x 8’ cage if need be (and we hope our readers never find themselves in a situation where that need arises).

 

getting things done

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

This perennial bestseller in the “productivity” category is a favorite among many of the staffers here at Tarcher. David Allen is a mastermind of organization and anti-procrastination tips, and his no-nonsense approach is brilliant for simplifying the daunting pile of tasks many of us face during our workdays. Also, there will be a revised 2015 edition of this classic coming out in March! Tarcher is proud to have partnered with the Penguin imprint on theGetting Things Done Productivity Cards in 2013, which distilled the wisdom in this book down to bite-sized portions in a colorful and beautifully-designed deck of cards.

 

 

reiki

Reiki for Life: The Complete Guide to Reiki Practice for Levels 1, 2, & 3, by Penelope Quest

Chances are you’ve heard about Reiki in the last few years, as centers are beginning to pop up all around the country and compliment other ancient techniques such as T’ai Chi and acupuncture. This handbook is all anyone interested in Reiki needs to begin practicing this potent and increasingly popular healing technique. Readers will learn how Reiki works, how to perform Reiki on themselves and others, instructions on how to become a Reiki Master, and much more.

 

 

 

fork

What the Fork Are You Eating? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate, by Stefanie Sacks MS, CNS, CDN

American culture seems increasingly obsessed with labels like “natural,” “grass-fed,” “free-roaming,” and “organic”—but author, certified chef, and nutritionist Stefanie Sacks argues that these labels may be misleading and arms consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions for themselves and their families. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say, so this book would be incomplete without the included fifty original recipes that readers can try at home (although I don’t think there are any pudding recipes—sorry for any confusion).

 

 

lessdoing

Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel

In this handy and compact tome, TEDx speaker, triathlete, and productivity consultant Ari Meisel transforms his “Less Doing” lifestyle into actionable steps that readers can easily apply to their lives. Ari’s 21st century philosophy puts the internet and technology to work on behalf of the reader—using apps and tools to automate and outsource daily activities like e-mail, keeping track of new ideas, and remembering meetings—creating an “external brain” and freeing up the reader’s time and mind to focus only on important tasks. But this philosophy isn’t just about business and work life. Meisel tackles the trifecta of wellness—fitness, sleep, and nutrition— and instructs the reader on how to get more out of life, all while doing less. This book is a true gem in productivity improvement, and I personally use strategies I learned from working on this book in my daily life.

 

To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here

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roshe

Roshe Anderson works in Gotham and Avery Books. When she is not preparing recipe to-do lists from the cookbooks, she can be found reading other health and self-improvement books as well as fiction. She also enjoys exploring health-related topics on her blog.

 

 

 

 

52

The 52 New Foods Challenge, by Jennifer Tyler Lee

I love the simplicity of the recipes. Because the challenge encompasses taking on one new food a week, the recipes also cover a wide variety of whole foods. Whether or not you attempt to prepare all fifty-two foods, you will find the book to be a gentle guide, helping you take small steps toward what is often intimidating: trying something new. I have a list of recipes from the book which I am eager to make for the first time, including a simple butternut squash soup, pumpkin puree, and Jennifer’s version of an avocado-based chocolate pudding.

 

simplerecipes

Simple Recipes for Joy, by Sharon Gannon

Imagine a summer salad with real flowers…The gorgeousness of the cover and the dishes within Simple Recipes is undeniable. Thus, food intertwined with Sharon’s philosophy of compassion make a strong impression. The passionate foreword written by Kris Carr, a well-known natural food advocate, adds an extra wow factor to what already feels like a work of art. For people who have been to Sharon’s restaurant, the Jivamuktea Cafe, this cookbook will feel like being let into a secret. The spirulina millet and “Spaghetti All’aglio e Olio” are among my favorite recipes. I love forward to making the “Brown Rice Salad” soon.

 

365

365 Vegan Smoothies, by Kathy Patalsky

365 is a non-prescriptive road map, helping you to enjoy the fun and creativity involved in making smoothies. All of the ingredients the author suggests are available at your local market. Kathy also offers advice on how to substitute one ingredient for another, further encouraging you to use what you have on-hand or experiment. The book is perfect for people like me, who would prefer that their nutrient-dense smoothies taste like cinnamon buns or decadent desserts.

 

 

 

ohsheglows

The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

Two words: overnight oats. I am addicted to the opening recipe which features uncooked oats soaked in plant-based milk. All of the dishes displayed in the book are stunning! Angela’s reputation as well as her commitment to reworking recipes and seeking approval from non-vegans reassures you that you are in good hands. Creative, smart snacks like “Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas” and vegan remakes of popular dishes like cookie dough make eating healthfully look really cool.

 

 

 

success

Success Through Stillness, by Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons explains the effects of stress in clear language, elucidating the connection between stress and brain chemistry. Russell’s goal to dispel the myth that one is simply not good at meditation struck a chord with me. The book offers real tools for persisting in the practice of meditation. Also, I loved Russell’s description of being focused on the process and the work rather than the success or the failure.

 

 

 

 

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b head photo

Brianna is the Executive Director of Publicity and Marketing for the Tarcher and Perigee imprints. She enjoys books that teach you something just as much as ones that entertain (science, pop psychology, “big think” books, romance, sci/fi-fantasy, food/cocktail books, coloring books—the gamut). She also loves good food, craft cocktails and shih-tzu puppies.

 

 

 

 

 

powerThe Power of Kindness, by Piero Ferrucci

When I was first applying for a job at Tarcher/Penguin six years ago, I picked up THE POWER OF KINDNESS, hoping to get a better sense of the type of book the imprint published. I knew it had been pretty successful for Tarcher, and though it wasn’t the type of book I would normally read (fiction, science or pop psychology), I figured I would give it a try. And I was blown away. Ferrucci packed so much wisdom into the simplest sentences, and he tells compelling stories and vignettes from people’s lives to illustrate his points. I found myself underlining passages and recommending the book to numerous friends. It didn’t surprise me to hear that the book sold nearly 100K copies almost entirely via word-of-mouth. No doubt, the world can use more kindness; people need to be kinder both to themselves and to others. In the new year, Ferrucci’s book is a fantastic place to start.

 

stronger

Stronger, Faster, Smarter, by Ryan Ferguson

I’m not into fitness gurus, but I’ve been working with Ryan Ferguson on this book, and I really like its no-nonsense approach. Ryan himself has an incredible story. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He struggled for 10 years for his sentence to be overturned—which happened last year. While in prison, he honed his body and mind, knowing that he had to become his strongest, best self in order to survive. In this book, he weaves his lessons from prison together with the exercises and dietary practices that helped get him into peak condition. The book has helped me cut out a lot of the noise (things that I’ve read online about fitness and/or heard on the radio) and just focus on the essentials. That alone has made it one of the most useful books I’ve read so far this year!

 

energies of loveThe Energies of Love, by Donna Eden & David Feinstein

I was as skeptical as any New  Yorker would be when I first heard about ENERGY MEDICINE, Donna Eden’s bestselling book sharing energy medicine techniques. But then I saw Donna in action. Call her what you will – an intuitive, a magician or a healer (I prefer the latter) – but she can energy test a person and know what’s ailing them. And, even better, she can often give them tools that will help fix the problem. She’s also just full of positive energy and joy. With ENERGIES OF LOVE, she and her husband offer couples a new way of understanding each other – as well as energy medicine techniques to help them get on the same page. I recommend it to anyone who has a significant other.

 

whattheforkWhat the Fork Are You Eating?, By Stefanie Sacks

I’ve often wondered what “natural” really means on a food label – and whether this is regulated. And how “cage-free” differs from “organic.” I’m not a health food nut. In fact, I joke that with all the preservatives I’ve consumed over the years, I should be on this Earth for quite a while. However, the complexities of the food industry fascinate me – as does Sacks’ book. She’s a culinary nutritionist as well as a trained chef (and I’m a foodie), so I was drawn both to the book’s recipes (yum!) and simple “better for you” recommendations. I may ignore all of this advice during the holidays, but it’ll be my New Year’s resolution to refer back to it in January.

 

 

myths

The Myth of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Ever wonder why so many relationships fall apart after two years? Or why the things you thought should make you happy (more money, a promotion, etc.) don’t have staying power to keep you happy? Sonja’s book illuminates the way the mind works – and how our mindset (and our often black-and-white vision of happiness) hinders us. It’s a fascinating book, one that will have you contemplating some off-the-wall ideas – such as sky-diving with your partner or taking Tango lessons together – to keep that happy spark alive.

 

 

 

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I was even happier after I tasted it

Brooke Carey is an Editor at Gotham where she specializes in self-help, personal development, pop culture, and other non-fiction. She currently resides in Astoria, Queens but grew up in Nashville where she developed a deep, unyielding love for sad country songs and fried green tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

168hours

168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

I edited this book when I was still new to my career and had no clue how to manage my time. In fact, I had succumbed to the notion that time managed me. Laura changed all of that. This is not a book about how to make a to-do list or filter your inbox. Laura argues that, while we all say we “don’t have enough time,” we have exactly the same amount of hours—168 in a week—as anyone else. So how do some people manage to work full time, raise a family, run marathons and take up pottery while the rest of us feel like we’re constantly playing catch up? According to Laura, the first step to making the most of our hours is to look at exactly how we spend them. When we do, we realize that we waste a lot of time doing things that don’t improve our lives and are then empowered to focus on what really matters. If you don’t want to read a 270+ page book because, well, you’re pressed for time, I suggest Laura’s especial What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.

 

howtoHow to Be Richer, Smarter and Better Looking than Your Parents by Zac Bissonnette

This is another book I worked on, so perhaps I’m a little biased, but I truly believe every twenty-something should read it. It’s a guide for young people—those who are financially independent for the first time—on how to create financial habits that will set them on the path to lifelong prosperity. This is not a book about how to make a million dollars overnight, nor is it full of complicated investment advice. Zac argues that if you commit to good money habits—saving for retirement, paying off debt—while you’re young, you’ll set yourself on the path to lifelong prosperity. He also unpacks what wealth really means—that the people who have the biggest homes and fanciest cars are often up to their eyeballs in debt—and that real wealth is about security and not having to worry about money because you’ve been smart about it your whole life. But Zac isn’t preachy. He fills the book with references to pop culture and uses Teresa Giudice and Lenny Dykstra, among others, as cautionary tales. After editing this book, I immediately upped my contribution to my 401(k).

#girlboss

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

As soon as you look at Sophia, you want to be her. She’s gorgeous, poised, and hella cool. And then you learn that she built her $100-million-dollar online clothing retailer, Nasty Gal, from scratch without a college education all before the age of 30, and your head explodes. She is, in short, an inspiration, but a sassy one. #GIRLBOSS is about being awesome and not apologizing for it. It’s about finding success on your own terms, even if you’re unconventional, awkward, or have stumbled along the way (Sophia, for example, spent a good chunk of her early adulthood dumpster diving and shoplifting to get by). The book became an instant classic when it was published earlier this year, and it’s no wonder. Sophia is Jackie O meets Jack Welch. What’s not to love?

 

idon'tcare

I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve Dated by Julie Klausner

On its face, this is a book of dating stories, but it’s so much more than that. I wish I’d had this book when I was 22 and first moved to NYC because I could have saved myself some of the drama—and trauma—that defined my dating life for the better part of a decade. Reading Klausner’s hilarious and horrifying tales of the man-children she’s encountered in her quest for true—or just functional—love is like listening to your bawdy best friend counsel and commiserate with you on what you should and should not tolerate from men (or women, or anyone, really). Read it with a bottle of wine.

 

julia

Julia Child: A Life by Laura Shapiro

Not a self-help book per se, but everyone can take a lesson from Julia Child. She was not only wildly successful but extraordinarily kind, level-headed, and full of joie de vivre. Plus, she and her husband, Paul, were deeply in love. This book made me smile, literally. I was so delighted while reading it that I couldn’t help myself. If more people lived like Julia, we’d be happier, healthier, and definitely better fed.

 

 

 

 

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Saracarder

Sara Carder is Editorial Director at Tarcher / Penguin Random House where she has the great pleasure of working on books that help people lead happier, healthier lives.

 

 

 

meditation

The Power of Meditation, by Edward Viljoen

I heard Edward Viljoen speak recently and was so moved by his talk that I was eager to hear more from him. Once I found a moment to dig into his book The Power of Meditation, I was not disappointed. Edward has the ability to talk about things that are really quite serious (such as, well, sort of a biggie, how to be more at peace in your life!) with such a light touch that the wisdom of what he’s saying creeps up on you like the punch line of a great joke. In The Power of Meditation he takes what can be a very intimidating topic for some –meditation– and makes it so wonderfully accessible. If you are one of those people, like me, who is convinced that you could never “learn” how to meditate, read Edward’s book. The how and why of meditation are beautifully explained in The Power of Meditation. I have decided to give it another go.

foodrules

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan

As a self-help editor I experience no shortage of advice in my life. How can I be a better parent? How can I find a better live/work balance? Or – a biggie – what should I eat? I love this slim little book that tells you all you need to know really about eating healthily. After I read it, I decided I never needed to read anything else on the topic. I was also very happy because I wouldn’t have to deprive myself of delicious food. The rules for eating in this book are truly rules to live by.

 

 

 

failfast

Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win, by Ryan Babineaux, Ph.D., and John Krumboltz, Ph.D.

Full disclosure #1: this is a book I acquired and edited for Tarcher. Full disclosure #2: when it came to me on submission from a literary agent, I thought “What a great title and I know SOOOO many people who need this book. But I’m not one of them. I know how to fail. I fail all the time and I’m good at it.” Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I learned is that my fear of failure was actually one of the biggest things holding me back in life. Now, after reading this book, when there’s something I feel inspired to do, instead of not doing it because I think I can’t do it well, I tell myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if this doesn’t work?” And I give it a try.

 

attached

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love, by Amir Levine, M.D., and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A.

When my son was born I discovered that there were a lot of books out there on “Attachment Parenting.” It’s a pretty good approach to raising kids: form a deep, secure bond with your child and you will set him/her up for a happy life. I devoured these books! Attachment theory as it pertains to the parent/child bond is truly fascinating so when the proposal for this book on how an understanding of Adult Attachment research can help you better relate to your romantic partner, I was eager to read. This fascinating research reveals that, when it comes to romantic love, we are all one of the following types: Anxious, Avoidant, or Secure. And guess what the best type to be is? Secure (of course). This book will show you how to become more calm, contented, and connected in your relationship – whether you’ve found a partner or you’re still looking. This is one of the smartest self-help/psychology books I’ve ever read.

 

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Rob Holden

Rob Holden is a Marketing and Publicity Assistant for Gotham and Avery. If he could be anyone on earth, it would be the Dos Equis man. Or Anthony Bourdain. Or maybe, in a distant third, Bruce Wayne. Books are as much a part of him as true southern barbecue. And if he remembers correctly, it was Proust who once wrote (in his native French, of course) “what peanut butter can’t make better, cheese can.” No, wait – that was Rob himself.

 

 

 

 

baseball 2Baseball as a Road to God, by John Sexton

You often hear die-hard fans refer to sports as “religion” or “a way of life.” Having played baseball my whole life and being from the land of SEC football, I totally get this. So too does NYU President John Sexton. Invoking great thinkers both within and outside of baseball, he shows us how baseball and religion go hand-in-hand, and how America’s pastime can (and does) lead to a higher plane of being. If Gehrig’s heart-wrenching speech doesn’t stir you, if Gibson’s game one heroics (my personal favorite moment in baseball history) don’t give you chills, then you may well have no soul with which to contemplate the God Sexton speaks of.

 

 

psychThe Psychology of Baseball, by Mike Stadler

Ted Williams knew a thing or two about hitting a baseball, and he famously said it was the hardest thing to do in sports. Science, basic physics, would support that theory. And if you need more proof, take my baseball career as empirical evidence in the affirmative. But what is it that allows some players to hit the ball with such ease, while others flounder at the plate? Mike Stadler dives into the psychology behind what makes some players so good – from anticipation and intuition, to countless tidbits of knowledge and experience acquired. Baseball is a thinking man’s game, and Stadler beautifully proves it. Which is probably why my meteoric rise to the Major Leagues never quite happened.

 

 

9781592408290MA Religion of One’s Own, by Thomas Moore 

Nothing in a person’s life should be more personal, more individually crafted, than his or her religious or spiritual beliefs. Thomas Moore advocates a sort of theoretical approach to religion – bringing together facets of multiple faiths and adopting various principles from across the religious plane. I think he’s on to something – I’ve always felt religion should be about acceptance and personal growth. Now I’ve got Tom to back me up. A profoundly humbling and enlightening read.

 

 

 

 

remedyThe Remedy, by Thomas Goetz

It’s funny to think of our most famed and revered literary characters as having come from anywhere but the grand imaginations of our most famous authors. But, as Thomas Goetz makes obvious, such is not always the case (thank goodness). Were it not for the seemingly sloppy science behind the discovery and treatment of the tuberculosis bacteria, one Sherlock Holmes may never have entered the literary cannon. And then Robert Downey, Jr. (whom I also want to be) would never have gotten to play him in those awesome movies – and we’d all be a little bit less complete because of it.

 

 

 

i don't knowI don’t know, by Leah Hager Cohen

We’ve all been there – faced with a question you don’t know the answer to, you feign knowledge and familiarity. Sometimes I feel like I got a degree in that – I got really good at sounding smart by saying pretty much nothing as an undergrad. We’re scared to not know things, scared we might look incompetent or stupid. In this short volume, Leah Cohen explains why we’re afraid of the things we don’t know and in turn shows us why we shouldn’t be. Being able to say “I don’t know” can be incredibly liberating and empowering. After all, doesn’t the unknown lie at the heart of all discovery?

 

 

 

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Anne

Anne Kosmoski is the Assistant Publicity Director for Gotham and Avery. She has books her in blood … and all over her apt, which makes choosing the right one at bedtime easier for her two daughters. Books, daughters, mom and dad all live in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossword Century

The Crossword Century, by Alan Connor

To be honest, I am more of a Tuesday – crossword gal than a Sunday. But Alan Connor’s book about the history and secret lives of crosswords, made me feel like a Crossword Queen. Spies, secret codes, upside down words – it’s all in there and more. Everything you need to know about a subject you didn’t know you were fascinated by. This is my kind of beach reading!

 

 

 

 

Geek Dad.indd

Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects for Dads and Kids to Share, by Ken Denmead

It’s summer which means school is out and the playgrounds and backyard projects are in. Our family loves Ken Denmead’s Geek Dad. It is a treasure trove of crazy experiments (exploding soda) and fun projects (the Best Slip-n-Slide ever). And he has clear cut, easy to follow instructions for those who aspire to be geeks but wouldn’t know binary if this was written in it.

 

 

 

An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails

An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails by Orr Shtuhl, Illustrator: Elizabeth Graeber

Aah, summer. It is not often that we entertain, but when we do I love a themed cocktail. This book looks like a classy party with beautiful people and witty repartee. One or two vespers and your party will look that way too.

 

 

 

 

 

This Book Will Save Your Life

This Book Will Save Your Life, by A.M. Homes

I am an evangelist for this book. First, I love the title and I love watching people react when I give it to them. Second, it’s just a great read. A M Homes take on modern living is sarcastic, deadpan, and brilliant.

 

 

 

 

 

Dude and Zen Master

The Dude and the Zen Master, by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

Even a mom needs some downtime and I am lucky enough to get in a yoga class here and there. One teacher began a class with a quote from this book and I haven’t looked back since. As the book says, a beautiful mix of enlightenment and entertainment. It keeps me grounded, makes me laugh, and reminds me to step back and just take it all in. The dude abides.

 

 

 

Lama Lama Time to Share

Llama Llama Time to Share, by Anna Dewdney          

I couldn’t help it. This is a current family favorite (and even the one year old reads along). If you have young children and have not ventured into the world of Llama Llama, you should.

 

 

 

 

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Farin

Farin Schlussel works in the marketing department at Gotham Books and Avery, where she has encountered map thieves, scientists, strong librarians, delicious recipes, and lots of dog and cat photos. When she’s not hanging out at her local library, where everyone greets her like Norm from Cheers, she enjoys seeing Broadway shows, watching British TV, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and catering to the whims of her mischievous cocker spaniel.

 

 

The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife

The Coconut Oil Miracle, 5th Edition, by Bruce Fife

My favorite thing about The Coconut Oil Miracle is that it takes this “it” ingredient beyond the kitchen. For example, did you know that coconut oil also makes a great insect repellent, sunburn treatment, and diaper cream? Or that it promotes healthy skin and hair? Yes, there is so much more to coconut oil than Zico Water.

 

 

 

 

Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel

Budget Bytes, by Beth Moncel

How do I love thee, Budget Bytes? Let me count the ways… Actually, there are too many to count, but to narrow it down: every recipe I’ve made, be it from the book or the blog, has been super easy and absolutely delicious, and, yes, inexpensive. However, my favorite thing about the book is not the extra money in my pocket; thanks to Beth’s nutritionist background, all the dishes contain fresh ingredients, so I feel good about what I make, even if I do sometimes eat it straight out of the pot. Budget Bytes is a staple in my kitchen and should definitely be one in yours!

 

 

Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

Success Through Stillness, by Russell Simmons

I’m a born and bred New Yorker with a gold medal in power walking, so it’s pretty difficult for me to slow down. Luckily, there’s hip hop mogul and master entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who, with the nickname Uncle Rush, is crafted from the same mold, but who found stillness and success through meditation. His new (and New York Times bestselling) book shows how meditation can lead to success and outlines different methods of meditation so you can find the one that’s right for you. I’m a big fan of chair meditation, which can be done pretty much anywhere.

 

 

The Willpower Instinct by Kelly Mcgonigal

The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal

Let’s be honest, we all want to exercise a little more willpower in some area of our lives. In The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal gives the reader all the tools to achieve that goal and also shows why willpower is important. I particularly like that Kelly doesn’t advise going cold turkey when giving up a habit, but to take it in small steps instead. I also like that she tells it like it is; when she spoke at the Random House Open House in November, she very bluntly stated that just saying you want to change is not enough, you have to really mean it and take action. (On a completely unrelated note, not only is Kelly smart, she’s also a theatre nut like me, which raises her level of cool exponentially.)

 

Operation Beautiful by Caitlin Boyle

Operation Beautiful, by Caitlin Boyle

Every time I think about this book, I break out in a huge grin. I love the idea of women empowering other women by leaving post-it notes emblazoned with words of encouragement like YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL in the places that tend to affect our self-esteem the most – bathroom mirrors, gym lockers, etc. Body image is so skewed in our society, and the messages in this book are so inspiring.

 

 

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